Upbeat (TV series)

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Also known as''The Big Five Show''
Presented byDon Webster
Country of originUnited States
Production company(s)Herman Spero Productions
Original networkWEWS-TV (1964–66)
Syndicated (1966–71)
Picture formatBlack and white (1964–67)
Color (1967–71)
Audio formatMonaural
Original release1964 –

Upbeat was a syndicated musical variety show produced in Cleveland, Ohio at ABC affiliate WEWS-TV 5 that aired from 1964 to 1971 (the last five years airing nationally in first run syndication).[1]


Originally titled as The Big 5 Show, the series began as a local program when it premiered in 1964,[2] the name was a reference to WEWS Channel 5 and the 5 to 6 p.m. time slot on Saturday afternoons. When the program became syndicated nationally, the name of the show was changed to Upbeat, and as stations had the option of airing the program at different times, the program's title change was necessary.[3]

The introduction of the program commenced with a studio musician shouting "hey let's go with the Upbeat show!" as the in-house band, Dave C and the Sharptones, would play the introductory theme song with the program's main title logo, slowly exploding and coming back together again in a quasi-animated frame by frame fashion as the performers were announced for that particular episode. The series was aired in black and white from 1964 until 1967, then broadcast in color from 1967 until the series demise in 1971.[4]

The program's host, Don Webster, was a familiar face to WEWS viewers. In addition to hosting "Upbeat," Webster was also WEWS' weatherman on their nightly newscasts.[5]

Upbeat was inducted into the inaugural class of the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in August 2013.[6]

Local and area performers[edit]

In addition to such local talent as The People's Choice, Rapid Transit, the GTOs, the Grasshoppers, the Baskerville Hounds, Bocky and the Visions, the Damnation of Adam Blessing, the James Gang and Raspberries founder Eric Carmen, many regional performers gaining national exposure also appeared on the show including Question Mark & the Mysterians, Terry Knight and the Pack, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Chylds, the Bob Seger System, Cleveland's the Outsiders and Canton's O'Jays .

The Upbeat dancers[edit]

During years when "Go-Go" was popular, the show featured its own go-go girls made up of area young ladies dressed in the popular outfits and footwear of that period.

Some of the original dancers included: Jeff Kutash, Sue Dubbs, Danny Butler, Judy Kaye, Joan Kuchta, Sandy Salamone, Dr. John Grove, Kathy Watson, Sandy Ashmun, Barbara Chapman, Linda Wike, Lynne Krause, John Harrison and Dave Carter.

Prior to 1966 Upbeat was televised locally. By 1968 it was nationally syndicated in over 100 cities. The dancers during that period (1968–71) included: Joanne Zelasko, Jean Hagadorn, Arlee Gibson, Arline Burks, Linda Wike, Beverly Jones, Constance Gibson, Diane Rini, Jacquelyn Carson, Diane Friedl, John Magill, Kim Havrilla,Kathee Stiber, Jimmy Stallard, Linda Mulcahey, Mary Lynn Curnayn, Michael Ray, Patty Rutti and Peggy Miller.[7]

Performers who appeared on Upbeat[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arlene Fine. "And the Upbeat' show goes on". Retrieved 2010-05-29.
  2. ^ Deanna R. Adams. Rock 'n' roll and the Cleveland connection, page 63. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
  3. ^ http://www.newsnet5.com//news/video-vault-1984-tribute-to-20-years-of-don-webster
  4. ^ http://clevelandclassicmedia.blogspot.com/2010/01/upbeat-memories-don-webster.html
  5. ^ http://www.clevelandseniors.com/people/donwebster.htm
  6. ^ Bhatia, Kabir (August 19, 2013). "R&B Hall of Fame makes Cleveland its home... for now". wksu.org. WKSU Public Radio. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l http://www.clevelandseniors.com/people/donwebsterp.htm
  8. ^ a b c d e f Scott, Jane. "TV-5 Goes 'Upbeat' for an hour tonight" The Plain Dealer January 18, 1995: 5E
  9. ^ Scott, Jane. "The Happening" The Plain Dealer October 2, 1970
  10. ^ http://ctva.biz/Music/US/Upbeat_04_(1967-68).htm

External links[edit]